Young Emirati boy climbs Mount Kilimanjaro

Sharjah: Moawiya Saleh Al Shunnar, aged 15, has become the youngest Emirati to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, in what is considered an important achievement at the national level.

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest peak in Africa standing at 5895m and the highest free standing mountain in the world. It is, also, one of the Big-7 worldwide peaks that lure mountaineers from around the globe.

The 11th Grade student at Dubai English Speaking College (DESC) was able to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro last August after a 7 day ascent, with a group of 15 people, 5 of whom dropped out midway.

Upon his return to UAE, Al Shunnar said: “The feeling of elation at reaching the top is very memorable, and brings with it a flood of emotions and memories of the challenges and obstacles encountered along the way, as it is the journey that really stands out, and that will be remembered in the future, more so than the summit”.

“The greatest challenges were getting physically fit for the climb especially without knowing what to expect, including the cold. Temperatures at the top were -15 to -20 degrees Celsius, compounded by the fact that only 50% of the oxygen at sea level being available, in addition to the sheer exhaustion of such a climb. One more challenge was the preparation and training for the climb which we completed while fasting during Ramadan”, he added.

Al Shunnar attributed the idea of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to his father who encouraged him to go on this adventure. Moawiya had just completed his bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award at school which included an expedition into the mountains of Oman, and so he saw this as a great challenge and adventure.

He has always been an active boy with interests in Tennis, Tang Soo Do, football, basketball, and horse riding. He also plays piano and guitar, and enjoys chess. And of course, as with all teenagers, electronics and computers make up an essential part of his entertainment.

Al Shunnar dedicated his achievement to the UAE and its leaders who are always the role model in overcoming difficulties and challenges.

Al Shunnar extended his heartfelt thanks to Rahalah Company and its team for their outstanding efforts, which significantly contributed to making the trip a success and coming back home. He stressed the need to be mentally and physically fit and ready before trying this challenge and to climb with the right group leaders and organizers whose primary focus is safety, as many other groups mourned the loss of members because they considered reaching the summit as more important than the group’s safety.

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